Guys. It's Wednesday and I still feel like I'm still recovering from this last weekend. It’s a good thing today was a snow day in Portland. I can’t think of a better way to recap this weekend than by sitting on my couch, drinking a cup of tea and munching on a cookie straight out of the oven.
Thanks to President’s Day, I had a three day weekend and I committed to doing some major self-care. Not only did I have an extra day off, I didn’t have any major commitments or social plans getting in the way of my relaxing! So, I spent the weekend catching up with my friends, working out, relaxing, reading, sleeping, watching TV, eating good food, adventuring, and quite frankly, I think I did it all quite successfully. I also hit up a number of awesome Portland spots that I shared a bit of on Instagram, and will go more in-depth on here!
So let’s get rolling.
After a stressful week at work, all I wanted to do was chill out and spend some quality time with my family. So, J and I hit the grocery store and grabbed a coffee on our way to my parent's house for dinner, where my sister and BIL would join us to hang out and play board games. We broke out a new game - Sheriff of Nottingham - which was a lot of fun. If you haven’t played it, I recommend it. Super quick to learn AND play. It’s solid for a group of four but can go up to five, and with expansions up to six.
After dinner and a game, my sister and I ventured out to the local retro movie club in my parent's neighborhood. Tickets are only $4, and they play relatively new movies, those that came out sometime in the past three months. We’re both huge Pitch Perfect fans (I mean, if you love musicals, I can’t imagine you hating them) and hadn’t seen the latest movie and decided it was time. With a pack of Sour Patch Kids in hand, we laughed our way through the late showing of Pitch Perfect 3. If you enjoyed Pitch Perfect 1 or 2, missed Fat Amy and were having acapella withdrawals, just go see #3. It was the perfect end to a tough workweek when all I needed was to laugh out loud.
After the movie, I headed home and passed out! Sleep is one of my favorite things to do… so any excuse to have fun AND get a full night’s sleep will always win in my book.
Bright and early, I hopped out of bed to make the most of the morning. I’m a big morning person, in the sense that I really appreciate that peaceful morning light and silence. But I have a hard time getting up early enough to soak up enough of it, so when I’m feeling rested, or can prioritize an early wake-up, I do. Last Saturday was no different. I got out of bed around 6:30 am, brewed a pot of coffee and took to the couch with a new book. I finally dove into Artemis, Andy Weir’s latest book, despite it sitting on my coffee table for almost two months. With a cup of steaming hot coffee and a good book, I spent about an hour reading before waking up J.
I had plans to head out to brunch with one of my favorite girlfriends, so I knew I had to get going. I headed down to our garage to use the gym and bust out Day 2 of BodyRock HIITMax. I figured if I was going to consume as much delicious food as I had planned that weekend, I might as well get a workout in first. As soon as I finished up the workout, I showered and got ready in a flash and hit the road! I headed over to Proud Mary Coffee to catch up with my girlfriend, and I was SO excited. Not only was I excited to see my friend, I just missed her. She and I became fast friends after meeting at work and then becoming neighbors and spent a lot of time together (a solid perk of liking your neighbors - physically close friends!). She recently got married and moved to a different neighborhood, and she’s not impossibly far away, but we just hadn’t seen much of each other and we were due for a hug and catch up. So brunch was the perfect excuse to catch up AND eat delicious food.
As I said, we went to Proud Mary Coffee bright and early Saturday morning. We walked in at 9 am and got a table without any wait, which in Portland is always amazing. If you haven’t heard of Proud Mary before, it’s a cafe and coffee brand that originates in Melbourne, Australia with the intention of starting your day so dramatically with their food and products that there’s no going back. And, fun fact, Portland was their first US location! Located in the Alberta District, Proud Mary boasts using as much locally sourced, sustainable, ethical, fresh and healthy producers. Not only is that super awesome, it also made me feel really great about everything I was eating. Not only are you supporting Proud Mary, a local restaurant (ok, local-ish), but also local farmers, producers, and retailers.
I was starving upon arrival, but in taking a glance at the menu it was so hard to decide what to get! Ultimately, I landed on the Banana Oatmeal with organic oats, espresso caramel, coconut, cocoa nibs, hazelnuts and banana curd. My girlfriend decided to go with something on the sweet side as well and she ordered the Ricotta Hotcakes. Check out this description - heilala vanilla hotcake, mandarin caramel, lemon cheesecake, honeycomb with spiced cookie crumbles. Oh and we ordered a starter of Croquette Ticklers, made with bacon and cheddar paired with a simple aioli. How insane does that all sound? Well, it was DELICIOUS. Not only was everything fresh and visually appealing, the flavors were eloquently layered and paired. We ate as much as we possibly could, unable to finish everything, and grabbed the check.
After brunch, my sister invited Gus and me to check out LexiDog with her and her pup, and she lured me into joining her with the promise of donuts after. On Saturday’s, LexiDog in Lake Oswego has $2 group play for dogs, so we figured it a good chance to check out the facilities and tired the pups out at the same time. In case you see an adorable and dopey brown doodle on the @BalanceinBridgetown Insta account, that’s Huck, my sister’s doodle. Quite often, the four of us go out adventuring and this time was no different!
After an hour of doggy play time, we walked down to one of my all time favorite donut spots, NOLA Doughnuts. We picked up a Madagascar Vanilla and S’mores doughnut to go and headed home to enjoy with a cup of tea.
The rest of the day was spent running errands and working on house projects with J. We were planning on doing some major housework (we were going to build a murphy bed) but after much discussion, we decided it wasn’t worth the cost and effort. So instead, we came up with a new game plan for the office, and got to tidying up the rest of the house. Dinner was homemade taco bowls with spicy taco beef, black beans, homemade guacamole, micro greens, and salsa. Oh and we watched the Simpsons. A solid ending to an adventurous day.
The next morning was quite a delight, in that I woke up to a peaceful layer of snow over everything! We had heard there was supposed to be some snow, but if you live in Portland, you know that snow predictions are either spot on or a total bust, and it’s pretty 50/50. That said, it was enough of a deterrent for our friends to drive into town for a day trip (safely so), so J and I were left to our own devices. I took Gus out for a stroll in the falling snow, and as the sun was rising, it was apparent the snow wasn’t going to stick.
So J and I decided to make the most of the slow Sunday morning and still venture out. I had been wanting to try out Buckman Public House and was excited to hear they were still open. After getting off the phone with them, Gus and I booked it home, headed to the home gym and busted out Day 3 of BodyRock before we hit the road to SE Portland. (Gus, unfortunately, did not join us for brunch, but he is part of the proverbial “we”).
Beckman Public House is one of a few restaurants associated with Revolution Hall, the music venue located inside the old Washington High School in SE Portland. The restaurant boasts seating for 300 and has a beautiful interior aesthetic. Given the weather, J and I were 2 of 3 guests at the establishment that morning and were able to take in the scenery.
The Buckman Public House kitchen is led by Executive Chef Jeff Emerson (previously with Tucci, Cafe Castagna, Ava Gene’s, Alba Osteria) and Chef de Cuisine Ian Wilson (ex-Chef and owner of Fenrir) and it was clear they brought their previous years of creativity to Buckman. The brunch menu boasted a variety of brunch classics like breakfast hashes, french toast, and eggs benedict, with unique flares of flavor and creativity. J went with the Pork Belly Pastrami Benedict and I ordered the Bourbon French Toast and we were content both with our selections and the flavors and portion sizes!
After a filling breakfast, I convinced J to take me to Push x Pull Coffee, the new and first storefront by the founders of Push x Pull Coffee Roasters. Open just a few short weeks, they clearly solidified their position as the neighborhood jaunt. Walking into a coffee shop and seeing the owners a.) physically on-premise, b.) working behind the counter and c.) hugging their clientele was a clear indication of the love, sweat, and handwork put into the establishment.
It was also the first time I’d ever had Push x Pull Coffee, and with that, the first time getting the opportunity to try their espresso. Before opening their storefront, Push x Pull was only available as traditional coffee beans, so with new beginnings come new products! I ordered an oat milk mocha and was SO HAPPY. Not only was the espresso balanced and delicious, the pairing with oat milk was a first for me. I think it might be my new go-to alternative dairy choice, so long as coffee shops carry it…
The rest of the day was spent adventuring around town, running errands, watching Lost, taking naps, reading, tea and lots of doodle snuggles. Oh and a bubble bath. Once again, a solid addition to my weekend of “self-care”.
And then came my THIRD day off, and it was a dream. Once again, we awoke to a blanket of soft snow. The sun was already out, so there was no real concern about being able to venture out. So what did I plan for the day? An hour or so of lazing around in bed, watching TV, and then a visit to Cathedral Park with my sister and the doodles for a long walk and a visit to The Great North for a delicious cup of coffee.
We started our morning walk right under the bridge and were the only people there for a solid half hour. Despite there being snow on the ground, it was a beautiful, crisp day and the dogs loved being there. So many new sights and smells, and the views were pretty beautiful for us human’s too.
For anyone who hasn’t been, Cathedral Park is a beautiful spot located right under one of my favorite bridges, St. John’s Bridge. What I would call the most beautiful of all of Portland’s bridges, St. John’s Bridge spans 3,833 feet across the Willamette River, connecting the industrial district of Portland to the St. John neighborhood. Directly underneath the bridge is Cathedral Park where a number of events occur year round. In spring and summer, you can find hundreds of people flocking to the beautiful backdrop of gothic inspired archways for engagement and wedding photos alike! And in winter time, one can find holiday markets and carolers. Oh and let’s not forget the Cathedral Park Jazz Fest!
After racking up a couple miles, we decided it was time for sustenance and we ventured away from the waterfront to The Great North, a beloved jaunt amongst the St. John’s neighborhood for quality coffee and a good mood boost. The folks at The Great North make all of their own sauces and syrups in-house, and provide a truly great cup of coffee. With a simple menu, it’s clear the baristas take their craft seriously. The Great North sources their beans from Coava Coffee Roasters, another local Portland producer. It’s always a good bet when the coffee shop you’re checking out prioritizes sourcing locally.
We ordered a Honey Cinnamon Latte and Mocha, both with Almond Milk. I added a shake of cinnamon to the mocha and was delighted by the elegant simplicity. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend you make a pitstop. After ordering our coffee and taking in the ambiance, we decided to sit outside with the dogs at one of the patio tables, and we were pleasantly surprised. The sun was out, the dogs were tired and there was no wind or breeze to think of. It was the perfect way to spend a Monday morning with some of my favorite people and dogs. We wrapped up our adventure and headed back home. It was time for a nap for the pups!
In the afternoon, J and I spontaneously decided to check out a movie and booked it out the door to grab seats at the next showing of Black Panther. J isn’t a big movie person, but he loves me and will tag along every so often. The first theatre we hit was sold out (damn you kids!) so we ventured to another and were able to secure tickets, popcorn and a pack of fruit snacks. We both enjoyed the movie, but it left us both wanting more. How did Wakanda structure their society? How did they overcome a patristical society? What did they see for their future as the world around them crumbled? And how does the disposition and suffering of one group of people impact another? So many questions! Ultimately, I thought the movie did a great job of providing social commentary on arguments we've been seeing and hearing a lot more of lately, and framed it in a way that people of all ages, races, and cultures could potentially grasp.
After the movie, we booked it home so J could head out to coach basketball and so I could hit the gym. I knocked out Day 4 of BR, cooked up dinner and lunch for the week and then settled in for the night.
And THAT my friends was my weekend. Full of delicious, good for the soul, comforting food and activities, all over town.